Compliance with the Mining Rehabilitation Fund Act 2012 (WA) (Act) and the Mining Rehabilitation Fund Regulations 2013 (WA) (Regulations) becomes compulsory from 1 July 2014.
The Act and the Regulations came into operation on 1 July 2013 on a voluntary opt-in basis to aid in an orderly transition to the new system.
The Act and Regulations require all holders of tenements (except for those the subject of a State Agreement unless listed in the Regulations) to report disturbance data. Holders of tenements with a rehabilitation liability estimate of less than $50,000, based on the prescribed assessment information submitted to the Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP), will be required to submit the data but will not be required to pay the levy in respect of those tenements.
All tenements holders will need to register for the Mining Rehabilitation Fund by 30 June 2014, and where required, contribute annually a non-refundable levy to the State proportionate to their outstanding rehabilitation costs from 1 July 2014.
Accordingly, by 30 June 2014, all tenement holders will be required to report disturbance data in respect of their tenements using the DMP’s online system for the period 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014. Tenement holders will be required to declare the number of hectares disturbed and the type of disturbance in respect of each of their tenements so that their levy payment for the period can be calculated. Tenement holders will be responsible for ensuring that the data submitted is accurate and will have to retain evidence to support the information provided in their submissions. The levy payment will be required following receipt of an assessment invoice.
Penalties for non-compliance will apply if tenement holders do not register and report by the 30 June 2014 deadline.
The DMP estimated in its 20 May 2014 news release that out of a total of 3,433 tenement groupings, only 1,973 had been registered for the Mining Rehabilitation Fund.
One additional matter to note is that the liability for payment of the levy falls to those that are the holder of the tenement on 30 June. Companies which have sold or are in the process of selling any tenements should ensure they have arrangements in place for the purchaser to pay the levy if the sale has completed by 30 June but the tenements are still registered in the name of the vendor on that date. Industry practice is yet to develop in this area, but companies may also want to consider including a clause apportioning the levy between them (such as by an adjustment to the purchase price) for any sales which they expect to occur after 30 June.